Annalora Fendley Welles
is our spunky, fierce, sassy and very funny three year old daughter.
Annalora at the age of 21 months old was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (commonly known as ALL). After many trips to the doctor and emergency room I finally had enough and demanded a full CBC to be ran immediately because I knew she had leukemia. I went in that day with bags packed knowing we would not be leaving. After a few hours it was confirmed my google degree paid off and saved her life. Treatment began immediately with blood transfusions, platelets and fluids. Chemo would begin shortly after confirmation from John Hopkins days later.
Annalora didn’t fight her doctors, she never cried or seemed to question anything going on. She was so “brave”, it was like watching this incredibly wise and old soul endure the most horrific life altering changes in this tiny little body. I can’t put into words how sincerely proud we were and continue to be of her, she is so strong. After a few weeks in the hospital we were released home, finally joining her brothers into a strange new “home” a town away from all my children ever knew. But they never wavered. Annalora especially, she just smiled and laughed all whole relearning to walk and talk again.
She is in the phase known as “maintenance” with her treatment. It is such a misleading word in my opinion. Basically Al looks like any other three year old child, unless you knew her you wouldn’t know she has this nasty disease, that she takes oral chemo along side a handful of other medications daily. Every four weeks she goes to clinic and has her port accessed and receives stronger chemo, and then every few months she goes under anesthesia and has stronger chemo injected directly into her spine to ensure the chemo is reaching her central nervous system.
Leukemia is a blood disease, the need for such a long treatment plan is due to not being able to actually see the cancer like you can with localized cancers. One leukemia cell hiding in her little body would throw out of “remission” so quickly and when that happens is much more aggressive and survival changes decrease drastically. So 2.5 years of treatment is proven to have a 98% success rate. And that’s where she is heading. Her end of treatment date is February 2020.
Annalora LOVES to dress up, she loves her baby dolls, gardening with her daddy-he is also a warrior, he’s a war veteran, 100% disabled with PTSD. They are each other’s saving grace. Annalora just loves life, she loves people, animals and nature.
I was asked to tell how cancer has changed her and I- this is a hard question.
It hasn’t changed Annalora I don’t believe, I truly think she was born with this purpose in life to fight through adversity and be a leader for the world. Yes even at three. I see how many peoples lives she’s touched and I just know that even if this isn’t “fair” and why her... there is a reason. She will do something big in life and I know that in my core.
Cancer has completely flipped our lives upside down in ways I can’t even grasp at times, our lives were already very fragile. My husband was at the time dealing with very serious mental illness issues that stemmed from PTSD and his medical retirement from the Army. I was fighting for his life, our home and all we both worked so hard for. We were already losing it all. I was a breastfeeding mama of not only Al but to her baby brother at the time 7 months old. And my oldest son Camden (8). The day of her diagnosis we were served early foreclosure papers, I didn’t think life could possibly get worse that morning but it did a few hours later. I didn’t see my boys for weeks, we had to pick up and move an hour away to be close to the hospital, I had to stop working my small business, nothing else mattered but keeping our baby alive. SOMEHOW a year and half later we’ve made it to a brighter side of this. It was the hardest year of my entire life. Cancer has made me stronger. It’s made me tired, but it’s really opened my eyes to how valuable every single day is in life. I don’t care about things I used to care about. My goals have changed, my dreams have changed. Everything about me has changed. But I’m happy. My family is intact and we’re all together.
I could go on and on about this child I was blessed to call my own for days, but I’ll leave it with this.
She is everything the world needs:
She is love, she is light, she is strength, she is hope, she is kind and she a brave.⭐️
Thank you for sharing your beautiful story with us! If you would like to follow along and see this amazing warrior you can find her on IG here: @annalora.fendley